Age of Ingenuity

Seven Ages of Science Episode 1 of 7
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In the first of her Seven Ages of Science, Lisa Jardine explores the history of modern science in Britain from its birth in Restoration England.

It was an Age of Ingenuity: an age when hundreds of hard-working artisans in the City of London made clocks, watches, microscopes and spectacles; when Robert Hooke revealed an exquisite microscopic world; and when Isaac Newton stood on the shoulders of giants. An Age when, Lisa argues, an ability to make things work was as important as a flair for mathematics.'

One giant telescope is now a familiar item on the London skyline: The Monument, built in memory of the Great Fire of London, by Robert Hooke. The ingenious Mr Hooke was a familiar figure on London's streets; helping to rebuild the city whilst bustling between the many of his projects. He worked on devices which are still familiar to us today - the microscope, springs, and Hooke's Joint - a universal joint, which is still used in our car transmissions.

Isaac Newton, now remembered as a lone mathematical genius, was very much part of all this ingenuity - although his animosity with Hooke is well-documented. Newton said he stood on the shoulders of giants: those shoulders belonged not to previous generations of philosophers, but rather to a host of ingenious mechanics.

Producer: Anna Buckley.

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28 minutes

Last on

Wed 7 Aug 2013 15:30

Reading List

History of The Monument


The Return of Hooke’s Folio


Robert Hooke’s London by Felicity Henderson  


The Newton Project


Newton Papers


In science today, a genius never works alone by Athene Donald

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